Genetics is the study of inherited characteristics. It was pioneered by Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882), the father of evolutionary biology, and Gregor Mendel (1822 - 1884), whose experiments with inherited characteristics in peas are reproduced in classrooms to this day.
DNA Interactive explores the exciting history of DNA science. Visit to examine the Timeline of DNA discovery, jump into the Code for a more in-depth lesson, or click on Manipulation to learn about the tools developed to work with DNA strands. With free registration, teachers can pick up lesson plans and worksheets. My favorite clicks are the PDF templates for making an origami DNA model in either color or black and white. Look for the link under my DNAi Teacher Guide.
Learn.Genetics is an educational outreach program from the University of Utah. In addition to their jargon-free resources for students, they have printable classroom guides for teachers. Don't miss the interactive Build a DNA Molecule activity, the DNA Extraction Virtual Lab, and my personal favorite: How to Extract DNA From Anything Living. Using a blender, detergent, meat tenderizer, alcohol and a source of DNA such as peas or chicken livers, you can isolate long, stringy DNA molecules in a test tube. These labs are found in Teacher Resources.
Produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Genetics Home Reference is a consumer guide to understanding genetic conditions such as Down syndrome, sickle cell disease, and cystic fibrosis. It includes an introduction to hundreds of conditions, a primer on genes, chromosomes, and DNA, along with a glossary. "DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. Nearly every cell in a person's body has the same DNA."
Scitable is an online "library of scientific overviews with a worldwide community of scientists, researchers, teachers, and students." You'll get more out of the site if you register for a free account, but even without that, this Genetics section will provide links to dozens of hyperlinked articles and discussion pages on topics such as Evolutionary Genetics, Genomics, and Gene Inheritance and Transmission. Be sure to track down the "Essentials of Genetics" Study Pack by clicking on the small "Students" link in the header.
My favorite Online Exhibits at The Tech genetics site are Zooming into DNA (where you can peruse photos of cells, chromosomes and DNA, enlarged up to 900,000X) and What Color Eyes Will Your Children Have? Another interesting read is an article in Genetics in the News about Genetically Modified Organisms. Should we be frightened of them? "Well, what if they could cure a disease? A disease that ravages the third world? Would GMO's be worth it then?"